Take it easy man,
Draft for an essay on the Dude and the spiritual fatigue
History of anything can be written as history of appropriation. Americans got pasta from Italians who got noodles from China, that kind of idea. With that in mind it is an all fun game of tracing histories of ideas and appropriations in written form. For the actual fact that there must always be a point of view, in other words of who appropriates who / what. And not the other way around. Much harder to establish on the level of ideas.
There is a long standing highly respected tradition of attribution of all or as may quotes as possible, writing of bibliographies at the end of any book or even composing commentaries onto texts with use of only already recognized as classic texts, without much addition at all. Within this dynamic even at a slight glimpse of one feels the weight. The responsibility, it is hard to think, impossible to write and dangerous to draw the next breath in a manner of speaking.
Is it an original breath or just like others?
If others -which ones?
Mine or some one else’s?
-If only I was properly educated to quote the source materials…
Along comes a movie “Big Lebowski”, which over time effortlessly gathers huge following and status of the classic, or a cult classic.
Because of it’s fame we are all more or less familiar at this point. Now, imagine my incoherent thoughts when in a small meeting of Buddhist minded individuals on the second floor of a café in a small upstate NY town we hear a friend coming along, telling us that they in fact are ordained as Dudeist Priest? Quite frankly it took me a whole day for the idea to sink in to turn to google and look it up. It sure did produce some strong degree of initial interest right away, but muddied, like “is it a joke?” or “do people really take themselves seriously in all of this?” or “This is a thing of a status of a religion based on just a movie?”. I hope you notice the big shadow in the last one that the status of something as a “religion” could cast. It is like a huge figure made of stone propped up on a rooftop high above, -no one wants it falling down to crush a busy market square. So, we hope that it somehow could over time keep getting higher and higher, and away from us, lost in the clouds at last, to possibly affect the all important judgment, but only after a very long life and peaceful, timely death.
On to the subject at hand then, dudeism very openly according to their website borrows from every system of thought that most call a world religion. With Buddhism as one of the major general inspirations. And it maybe time from Buddhists to borrow from the Dude. I personally believe some credit is due. Now, nothing should prevent us from setting up the casual like and dislike, -as in we take this, but not that.
If not for our own spiritual well being (which it will not produce) but rather for delineating of the whole attribution of who is appropriating from who.
Also, as a side note. Yes, there can be very healthy discussion not directed at the people “in the know” but rather others who are looking to get an idea, some sort of scope of what Buddhism is. Yes Buddhism is much better when not termed as a religion, but rather a spirituality or a system of education.
However things are possibly termed as who stands for what. So, considering these ideas of “Take it easy man” and “the Dude abides” were worth my attention as an important statements that “stand for the dude”. The idea of constant judgment of self and others for the sake of unavoidable result: fatigue. Relaxing, all the while keeping the mind limber. While this does not come in an explained as the Buddhist way but if borrowed directly can be of relaxing benefit. If adopted as an attitude of general approach to the commercial, neatly packaged way of life that does no longer even promise any degree of happiness, just the predictability. Well the result? -One can be happier, will less, much less. This consumer reality of achievement of the predictable next, one after the other, all for the sake of incremental predictable of step by step. Of more of the same, looking forward to having perfect experience of more of the same tomorrow after tomorrow works like addiction without identifiable substance. It is the addiction to the routine, the cleanly written resume of everything that is not thought provoking, where by obtainment of a single bigger box one can open it and get the perfect smaller replicas to come out, all consistently same, tasting alike and assuredly globally branded, thus available world-wide. Instead of seeming degree of possible calm that a monotonous idea like this if maintained should affect, however this very act of maintenance and unhappy disruptions generate all the familiar stress, all the same. So, on a sober note, a clear mind in an attempt to enjoy here and now, to take it easy on consumerism of more and more of same, or more of upgraded same. To abide in that understanding that we have, that happiness comes from within. It is really beautiful and no White Russians or smoking is required, just a degree of that contentment…
So, next time you see me walking down the street in my bathroom robe, do not be alarmed it is not yet dementia, I am just powerfully cutting through my deeply rooted spiritual materialism, by taking it easy.
-With heartfelt thanks for spending a moment, reading my musings,
Sherab Gyatso Alex